Jazz trainer called for technical foul while attending to injured player during stoppage

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Arron Afflalo’s flagrant foul of Alec Burks earned the Nuggets guard a $15,000 fine.

But Afflalo wasn’t the only person penalized for the incident.

Jazz trainer Gary Briggs drew a technical foul (hat tip: Clint Peterson of Purple & Blues).

Briggs reportedly came onto the court to attend to Burks. You can’t see Briggs with Burks in the above video, but you can certainly see Burks appearing to need medical attention.

So why did Briggs get a technical foul?

It’s unclear.

Rules say “During an altercation, all players not participating in the game must remain in the immediate vicinity of their bench.” No similar rule exists for trainers, though head and assistant coaches are explicitly allowed to leave the bench to serve as “peacemakers.”

If Briggs was called for a technical for leaving the bench during an altercation, the NBA failed. There’s no equivalence between players and trained medical personnel coming onto the court. Burks wound up OK, but he – and others in similar positions – shouldn’t have to wait for medical help.

But that’s not necessarily the rule Briggs violated.

“A coach entering onto the court without permission of an official” has a penalty of a technical foul, and it seems that would also apply to a trainer. Jazz coach Quin Snyder blamed himself for not calling a timeout to allow Briggs onto the court.

However, rules state: “If a player is injured as a result of a player on the opposing team committing a flagrant foul or unsportsmanlike act, play will resume when playing conditions are safe and no timeout will be charged, unless a mandatory is due, as a result of any delay due to the player’s injury.”

This was a flagrant foul. The onus wasn’t on Snyder to call timeout. The referees should have allowed Briggs to come onto the court.

If this was a procedural issue with Briggs not getting proper clearance before going to Burks, my objection remains. The rules allow the Jazz a free timeout, and they should be able to use it to help an injured player – even if the referees don’t realize quickly enough what’s happening.

Perhaps, Briggs committed another violation before, after or while helping Burks. If that’s the case, the NBA should clarify. Otherwise, it appears the league isn’t properly handling player safety in this case.